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Failed back surgery are the percentages right.

Started by Sam227 on 05/01/2010 8:41pm

I am having a fusion and leminectomy in July. My pain management doctor said I have a 33% chance of being pain-free after surgery. Does anyone think that percentage is off a lot because people don't want to go back to work? You think people are just looking for the free services for life? Back surgery is a major surgery for all of us. It would be a lot nicer if the percentage was a lot higher that get better. Please let me know your thoughts. I am unable to do almost anything now. My choice is surgery even at 33% .

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Hi Sam, Anne & Rosey.
Hope you are all feeling better. Sam, I think you're right. I haven't had surgery yet, but I di get the feeling that I will just be trading one pain for another. What motivates me to go for the surgery is that my pain increases almost daily, I don't want to imagine what it will be like in a nother 6 months if I do nothing. In my mind, some promise of relief, however small is better than what I have now.
Anne, you are right too, Drs don't get paid to be nice to us, if we are lucky enough to find one with a good bedside manner, it's just an extra. I would just like to find one with just a little empathy & one who doesn't think that he knows everything & there's no need to listen to the patient.
Rosey, how is the smoking situation going? There's a prescription drug that is supposed to be very helpful, more so than the gum or patches.
I'v ended up taking an extended leave from work until I can get something done. The fact that I come home from work in agony tells me that even cutting back wsn't working. I'm a strong believer in pain being our bodies way of telling us that something isn't right.
Anyway, I hope everybody is having a better week.

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I am 7 1/2 weeks post op from a decompression and a fusion. Back to fail back surgeries are the percentages right. I am not doing all that well yet still weak and in pain. Let me know on the people who have had success when it starts? I want to physical therapy today I asked him if I would still be coming in November and he said no. I`m truly not any better now than I was before surgery. I'm actually worse.(33% get worse) I have been doing everything the surgeon told me to. Guys when should I start feeling better? Has my surgery failed? Let me know your thoughts and opinions. Yes I am very concerned now. Thanks Sam

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Sam,

I'm sorry to read that you aren't doing great. I was hoping you'd be the success story. I'm hoping that you'll be getting better as the days go on. I guess I need to be reassured about having surgery and that hopefully everyone I know has had a good experience so I can be on a more positive side. I'm still scared #$@%less about surgery, but as the days go on I'm leaning more towards it.

In the past 4 years I have gone from the already short 5'2" to the even shorter 5'1" and I'm in pain all the time. The last MRI I had didn't have a measurement of my slippage like my first MRIs did, but I'm sure I'm into level 2 because the height loss and the increase of pain, and occassionally my right foot likes to drop.

Should I be trying to talk myself into surgery? I don't know. I know I like to bend and would like to continue to bend for the rest of my life, but will fusion w/ instrumentation at the L5S1 level prevent that? I'm still looking for another surgeon to get my next opinion and who will answer my concerns, especially since the last one really didn't want to answer questions. I also need to get someone to address the possibility of cancer in the base of my C2. I'm just in a state of needing but not wanting to know of my choices. Just scared.

My prayers go out to you Sam and I hope you start feeling some improvement very soon.

Wendi

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Hi , I too am still in pain from my operation and still in pain and weak. I felt better than seemed to go back down again. Ever since my knee problem showed up and the "creature from the black lagoon" told me I have met my goals I have felt worse. I took anneDs advise and felt a lot better for a while then downhill again. I had a medical procedure the other day an angiogram into my illeac arteries and aorta. Went home the same day but woke up the next day with serious hip pain. I have to use a cane to get around the house for the 1st hour or so . I felt good the other day both physcialy and mentaly but then again became depressed with this. I guess I realy have to get excersize porgram going. Again I also worry that the Doc won't give me another refill of vicoden. I just refilled the last of three refills. I must cut down on my dosage. But I truely am in serious pain. Oh well , again thanks for being here (or there) LOL. Good to share.

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Wendy great hearing from you again. Don't leave us yet we need your advice. I probably should have started a new discussion with my last posting. Wendy after going through a spinal fusion it's a real tough operation. I was close to the point of not being able to do anything presurgery. Now I am almost 2 months postsurgery and I really can't do anything at all. If everything about you was the same as me with the surgery. I would say absolutely do not have the surgery. You think you have 10 plus pain now . After Surgery the first couple a weeks that then 10 plus is a dream to have again. The pain post surgery the first two days for me was totally unreal. I would never want anyone to live through that pain. All I COULD think about when I was laying in THAT hospital bed was my two children. That's only reason I got through it I think. Being postsurgery two months I would say I'm not doing any better than presurgery. I am truly doing worse. On this discussion we come across bitter sometimes cause we are truly living through hell right now. If everyone is like me were very worried if we made the right decision or not with a fusion. Anne D.. I'd like to hear your response please. Please yell at me if I'm wrong. Riverhawk do you think you made the right decision with surgery? And yes just like you I have one day I'm doing great. 7 days wish I was dead. At this point we have to do the PT and try our hardest to get better. I Guest we have no choice we made our decision. Good luck to all. Be careful everyone who's reading this that hasn't had the surgery YET. Yes I do read the other posts where people saying they're doing great are they lying??????? thanks again Sam

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Riverhawk if you have to take constant pain meds you should check with your doctor. There are a lot safer and stronger pain meds out there. OxyContin and oxycodone is safer to take regularly. Everybody worries so much about pain meds I would be dead without them. Thanks for all of your support. Sam

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Okay you guys, this is your drill sargent speaking, you asked for it and now you're getting it:: Everything you're saying is true. The eary post op course of fusion is horrific but you must admit it does slowly gets better. My suspicion is that you may be continuing to use your back to do daily activities like the old days before the fusion. without even being aware you're doing it. I'm 5 months post op and finally feeling a little better. My doc told me before the fusion that it takes a year to recover. So that what we're facing. Would I go through it again? Hell yes because that dreadful sciatic pain is gone but when I overdue or use my back instead of my abs or fail to use good body mechanics, or sit too long or fail to ice my back 8 or 9x a day or don't do the exercises or don't take a walk or pedel a bike or have a pity party or hold on to the fantasy that I'm supposed to be further along than I am, then I'm in pain.
Look you guys, this is the hand we've been dealt. We have to learn to be patient with our selves,measuring progress with an unfamiliar set of rules. Sam and Riverhawk, you're still in the early stages of recovery.......just accept it. stop fighting it. Sam, you have that pain management doc, get your meds from her.Get it through those guy heads of yours that you can't just push your way through this as is your guy custom. You have to do it slowly and carefully by the rules(see above start ing with: when I overdo etc) Fusion is not a magic bullet. It simply a surgical fix that stabilizes an unstable spine thus relieving the pain and numbness that drove us to the spinal surgeon in the first place.Riverhawk, you said in your last post when you followed my advice, you felt better so get your butt of the sofa and do what you need to do. I'll tell you what guys, you 're allowed to feel sorry for yourselves for 10 minutes a day and then it's back to recovering , struggling to maintain new habits of taking the best care of your backs that you're capable of for the rest of your lives. Now snap to it and let's keep moving onward and upward!!! Let's keep supporting each other. My best to all of my new found friends at SU..

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Sam , you asked if i think I made the right decision having the surgery. I thought about that this morning and I remembered that the Pain Management doctor did sit me down and saith that I should have the surgery he said look at your left thigh it is begining to atrophy and you will reach a point that you won't be able to stand. When I went back to the surgeon tried to make certain that I knew what I was in for so I can't blame the doctors. Even so when he said it was painful I never expected this. I have been through broken bones before, femur and knee fracture and other minor suff but never had this. My cardiolgist whom I respected said you have back surgery when you can't walk anymore. My wife tells me I am walking better and that I am forgetting how bad I was getting before the surgery. So I guess the answer is yes but maybe if I had better aftercare as far as therapy it would have helped.

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Sergeant Anne Let's get one thing straight I don't sit on the couch, I SIT IN A $1000. :Lazy Boy, and that is what I have turned into. But if you are going to insist that SOP is now to get up and haul ass on a daily basis then that is what I'll do, fall out for Revelie formation and keep movin;

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Hi Riverhawk, I got a chuckle out of your post. Excuuuuuse me for saying sofa!!!! I have a good feeling that we'll all get through this difficult recovery time together and mutual support is it's own form of medicine. My best

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Anne D. , Riverhawk and Rosey,
hi guys it has been a long time since I've heard from you. I'm exactly 2 months today. I'm taking one less pain pill a day now for about 10 days. I'm doing a real lot three times a week in physical therapy. The therapist is working me about hour and a half a time now. Where at first it was about 45 minutes. I worked about 10 hours this week now just driving a big truck. I work three hours and then sleep for 20 hours to recover. In the business I own my driver went out with a gallbladder problem he had it removed. I used to work 60 to 80 hours a week now I can't work 10. Anyways I just want to say HI wondering how everyone is doing. Three weeks ago I could've never worked one hour. I'm still in a lot of pain but doing much better. There isn`t a lot of people posting on this forum anymore. I think it's a lot to do with the laser surgery phoning people on here. I swear people are paid to write on this form saying how great laser surgery is. As you guys know we put a lot of thought into our responses to each other. And it really ticks me when it`s somebody working for a laser surgery center on the other end. Whenever I think someone selling laser surgery I turn them into spine universe. I wish there was an easy fix for our backs but there is not. Please let me know how you guys are. Thanks Sam

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Hi Sam, yes you are right about not posting. I went to see the vascular surgeon the other day and they did agree that the return to severe could indeed be from the procedure I went through there. Today the pain was severe again, when i get up in the morning I can hardly move, then I was with out my cane one time during the day and made a quick turn and almost fell. I am sure the answer to this is therapy. Tomorrow I am going on line to see if I can find a good exersise program that I can handle. But again today I was thinking about if I made the right decision and it goes back to the pain management doc saying that I would continue to get worse and worse go to a cane to a wheel chair and then not be able to recover. Also I was listning to CoasttoCoastam radio late at night and the host George Neery told about his friend who missed a step going upstairs and fell ( do to spinal stenosis) and is now crippled from the neck down. I had stenosis and tripped all the time. His wife left him because she could not deal with taking care of him(She must be a real prize). Anyway hearing those stories sort of convinces me that we did the right thing.

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Riverhawk, I think you're a lot like me. I'm sure you could get a doctor/surgeon to write you a script for physical therapy. If you have insurance that is what you should think about. It cost me $30 a time the co-pay it`s worth it for me because it pushes me to do it. I couldn't go on Monday I walked for about a half-hour and that was it. Till I start working even if I have to pay for PT I will go atleast once a week. For about 30 minutes today at PT I was doing my exercises on my own. If you live on the East Coast at some point it would be nice to meet you. Where do you live? I know where Anne D.lives . if I could ever drive four hours I would go to the city and take her and husband out to dinner. If you go to PT again go somewhere that's close to home and check it out make sure you like the therapist. The place I go to now is only one I liked.(First one out of four places in the last two years). Even if we end up not getting better than presurgery atleast we tried. My wife wouldn`t be happy with me if I didn`t try to get better. It's really her life to! It's crazy now I ask my wife if she thinks I can do something before I try. She knows me now better than I know myself. I guess today I am depressed and disappointed. This is way longer than I ever thought it would take to recover. Thanks for all the support. Sam.
Anne D. take it easy on us!!!

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hey guys
just lost my whole paragraphs on this stupid computer
too much pain after 15 minutes on computer
ill try again tomorrow
feel good

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hi Sam, riverhawk, sorry for not keeping up but I've had a lot of different appointments which blew a lot of time. I will go easy on you guys but have to comment on both of your posts. I think that your
expectations for your recovery progress are a bit unrealistic.. From what I've learned,the #1 mistake that post fusion patients make is misjudging where they are in the healing process. Our backs are called "eggshell" by the medical profession so our work is to strengthen over time all of the large muscles in our bodies to take over for our our back that's why developing our core muscles(abdominals) the quads, hamstrings and calfs is so important.. For the rest of our lives, our "fixed" backs will remain fragile. Sam's advise is spot on. Stay in physical therapy for a long time to develop the habits of exercise 3 or4 times a week and daily walking or bicycling for cardio.We have to force ourselves to make the time to exercise,. it requires a radical departure from our usual routines and takes a long time to kick in but I can say with assurance that all of this work does kick in and becomes a habit. You guys need to become more patient with yourselves and trust the process. Taking the best care of ourselves must become job#1 for the rest of our lives. It means that our spouses, kids job etc must come 2nd. I know it's a tough choice but it's the only one I know of that actually works. keep up the good work, I'm pulling for you!!!!.

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hey guys
sam, ur driving a truck now, thats great? iM a bus driver
which one u guys had sls?
im still pre-surgery, waitin on the car insurance
The last pain management doc was supose to give me facet injections at the site.
He did them at the same place as the caudial PM DOC
I asked why, he said that he was afraid that he might paralize me
This pain management doc said that he 'll give me a 6th epi.
I said no thanks, he said ok go to surgery
I dont seem to have the same pain as u guys.
I have pins and needles in my neck and shoulders, moderate numbness in both hands at fingers, and burning in both arms, but when i reach, the pain is excuresating and i need to stop to recover from pain
im only 95% sure ill do this surgery
what do u guys think?

ps next week ill try to get to work

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Unfortunately those numbers are fairly accurate, although i think the percentage of successful surgeries may be a little higher than that. Many people will be extremely successful right after surgery, but those results may not last forever. There are many theories as to why the pain relief is not maintained (accelerated arthritis, over-activity, etc....), but I typically hear as little as 6 months and as long as 10 years until they had pain again. Most of this depends on the person, and there is no real way to predict these things.

Here are some things that we do know: Back pain is one of the most prevalent medical conditions in America today! 80+% of people will experience debilitating back pain at least once in their life (this does not include sore muscles or mild pain, we are talking very severe pain in this case) Back pain is also the #2 cause of missed time at work (the common cold is #1) and Back pain is now costing Americans 90+ Billion dollars per year to treat (this is a very conservative estimate, if you can believe it, there are many things that are not accounted for when calculating this figure)

Back surgery used to be performed on a regular basis for chronic pain, and we now know that is was done far too often!! Surgery is a necessary tool to treat back problems, but it must only be done when appropriate. The question remains: when is it appropriate?

If you have progressing neurologic symptoms, instability, cancerous lesions, fractures, or you have failed a true course of conservative care (this could last up to 1yr of continuous care in some cases) then surgery is a viable option for you. It is important to find a couple of things. you need an orthopedist and neurologist who are conservative minded when it comes to surgery, and you will also need a good chiropractor and physical therapist to perform your conservative care.

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Hi Rosey,
On My last second opinion doctor (I think the best surgeon in the area). He said that numbness in my arms was from something going on in my neck. The surgeon said I needed a fusing done in my neck without even an MRI. He was certain of that. I have an MRI scheduled for Tuesday so I will find out. For a cervical fusion my understanding it's as painful as the lumbar at first. Most people are back to work in seven weeks . So the recovery time is not as long as the lumbar fusion. Yesterday I cleaned the house for two hours. I woke up to my left arm elbow down numb. The same feeling you're described the pins and needles in my fingers. I own my own business my driver had to have a gallbladder taken out. So of course that means I have to fill in. My deliveries now are only about 10 hours a week. I am on OxyContin 60s to times a day and oxycodone fifteenths five times a day. That keeps me tolerating the pain. I've been on these pain meds for so many years. I've been okay to drive on them. If they don't give me the medical certificate for driving. The doctor has to give me a certificate saying I can't work anymore. Then he has to deal with the Social Security stuff. I really enjoyed working. If I'd have to stop working for good my life would truly be over. I would not make enough money on SSI are SSD whatever it is to live. My job is the reason I have all this trouble today. So many people are disabled because of work. You are a bus driver in no way you could drive on the meds I'm on. The cervical fusion you would only need about two months off. I feel your pain in your comments. Sorry you have to live in such pain. Sam

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Help, Scheduled to have surgery on Oct 6 cervical c2-c6 neuro claims 90/10 percent with 90 good 5 paralyses and 5 no benefit. Thuras and lumbar not reviewed, somewhat aprhensive at this time but can no longer live with pain and discomfort. Thoughts please??.

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hey joe'spenthouse
just wondering how long have u had this problem?
u need ur conservative tratment first
u should read the resonses from this comment board
there is a lot of expereinced people on this board
keep leting us know ur condition

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Just wondering, I have a problem with the darn pain pills. My Doc is ok but he prescribes Hydrocodone 10 325 one pill 4 times a day. Problem is one pill does nothing for my pain. I find myself taking 2 1/2 pills twice a day and lately two when I get up and 2 1/2 around one pm and 2 1/2 later in day if needed. Should I dare ask him for something stronger? Another doc gave me Oxycodone 10/650 30 of them, If I took two at a time they worked but I am afraid of the Tylenol. Any Ideas ?

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Riverhawk I'm sorry to say I know quite a bit about narcotics pain pills. To start with don't ever change to morphine if the doctor says that just say no way. I was on morphine time release 200 mg twice a day plus breakthrough Hydromorphine. I can hardly remember anything and I still had pain. OxyContin or oxycodone is definitely better for me. Do you have a pain management doctor? On your hydrocodone at same active ingredient as the oxycodone its a lower dose. The oxycodone doesn't have the Tylenol its much safer for you to take regularly. Doctors don't like prescribing oxycodone or OxyContin (12 hour time release) because it's what the kids use to get high they crush them. I would ask for oxycodone or Percocet(oxycodone/Tylenol). Percocet is 50% stronger at the same strength. I used to get 8 pills a day 10/325. Be careful taken too many at once on the hydrocodone cause of the Tylenol. Pain management took me right off the Percocet immediately. Family physicians have a tougher time prescribing oxycodone or OxyContin. I thought with surgery I could go down to about 50% of the pills I was taken. Not yet but I am down one pill a day that is a start. I am starting to feel a little bit better overall. Tomorrow I go for my cervical MRI . I will let you know how that goes in a couple of days. I know it's not be going to be good. It might be painful from the screws and rods in my back. I was always worried asking about my pain pills cause I cannot live without them. You went through a fusion they will give you all you need not worry. Just ask them if they say no go to pain management again . Best of luck Sam

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Thanks Sammy, mine was not as bad as yours I just had the laminectomy (also removal of my spelling gene LOL) I did not have the fusion. I do go to a family doctor for the meds. Now that you mention it I did not require as many Percocets as I do Hydrocodone . Maybe I will mention it to him tomorrow. I did have a pain doctor that went to orginaly he is the one that talked me into the surgery. Interestingly when I started going to this family doc he told me to "stay away from Dr. X (pain dr) I will mange your pain meds". I don't know why I think because the pain dr was pretty free with the meds. I wish you well tomorrow. Don't be too quick to jump into surgery in that area.

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I want for my cervical MRI this a.m.. I was sitting down on the MRI table. The technician said I NEED to make a follow-up appointment in 2 days with the doctor that sent me there. He acted like I was all messed up in my neck. I need doctor's care ASAP. In all my days I have done a lot of x-rays and testing. Only once when I had an emergency kidney stone the technician told me to get to the doctor. I hope I'm not real bad. I don't believe I could go through another spine surgery this year anyways. Wish me luck Sam

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Sam227, I have a question to ask the east coast

Is the east coast feeling as much pain as I am, monday and tuesday ?
I needed to go to the doctor for an injection
where do u guys live?

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sam is your neck very painful?
twice i did therapy and that was enough
i got the news that the car insurance has totally deneyed my claim
the car doc pretty much said there was nothing wrong with me.
IM in shits creek without a paddle
Im going threw with the surgery anyway
dont know how im paying for it
lucky for me i have health insurance
thaT will pay for some

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Good luck to you Sammy I hope u don't have to have spinal surgery any time soon I know I could not bear it. Why are you referring to the east coast , is it because of the weather? I know my pain is much worse these last few days. I went to the Doc today and he gave me a new prescription for hydrocodone 10 325. Seems to think that I should be doing more and sounds exactly like anne d. I know a guy who bought an inversion machine for his back, he is a construcituon worker and uses it ecery day clains it saved him from surgery.

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I don't have real bad pain in my neck I do have pain there. The bad pain is in my arms from my elbows to my hands. Guys after being through a back surgery there's no way I could go through another spine surgery and less it was life or death. I won't worry unless I get a phone call from pain management, I sent the MRI to them. Rosey if you were in a car accident if their insurance won't pay for surgery your car insurance should. Riverhawk I'm sure that's what rosey is talking about we have had 3 really bad rainy damp weather. I live in Syracuse where do you guys live? I have friends in New York City if you live near there I will come and see you someday. I will be going to Aruba for the month of November. I have to walk Aruba will be perfect for that. I am unconcerned about true winter the ice and stuff. Maybe for January I will go to South Florida the weather is not super warm perfect for walking. My wife will be happy to get rid of me for awhile. The last two years with all the doctor visits and pain meds it's a real strain on a marriage. My wife wonders sometimes why I'm so mean. I don`t even know!!!! Pain makes a man mean. Wish me luck on my neck. Sam

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Sam try thearpy first for your neck! keep neck moving!

florida sounds good, yesterday was a horribile pain day for me
I live in new jersey near nyc, you would be welcome to visit me or stay over
Sam it was my insurance that turned me down, saying it was preexsiting.( this web site needs spell check)
The car ins. doc said that there was no reason for me not to return to work
Im still on pain medicine, legaly i cant drive a bus, besides the pain
I dont think the bus company would alllow me to take off when i want for pain, the rest of my career
My percentages are realy going down!

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Well Sammy , I am not too far up the river from NYC. But tomorrow I am headed down to La Bella City Atlantica, and Walk on the boardwalk as much as in. One of the docs said its important to walk to tolerance just to get blood flowing to the muscles. Need to do somethingin about this pain.

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